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Coworking and the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Over the years coworking flourished leaps and bounds. The need for individuals, sharing a common interest, to interact is a building block for coworking hotspots.

This need for a social connection makes coworking a popular and sought after alternative when compared to working from home or in cafes.

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Onset of Covid-19

Coworking takes the world by storm and then another storm hits – a virus that changes not only how the business world functions but the social strata as well.

Just when the coworking scene is gaining momentum and enjoying immense popularity as an alternative work solution, Covid-19 a new pandemic is declared by the World Health Organization. 

Covid-19, or the Corona virus, is a highly contagious respiratory disease which is transmitted through droplets in the air released by the affected person’s sneeze or cough.

Covid-19 Effects Coworking

Consequently, the world is in lock down mode, and social interactions are at a standstill. The word ‘social distancing’ becomes the norm.  How does this affect coworking? We  say dramatically!

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Coworking spaces, whose framework is based on communal or shared spaces, are hit hard. If people distance from each other, then how will a communal workspace survive – the backbone of coworking is after all human interactions.

So does this mean the coworking concept is heading towards extinction? Not necessarily. The concept’s flexibility lets it adapt to the changing environments. Organisational change and crisis management, along with a re-defined work culture is on the table . Let’s highlight a few possible approaches.

First, people have the inherent need to interact. Coworking spaces can accommodate that  need with substantial precautionary measures in place. Perhaps re-arrange the seating in communal workspace and break out areas.  This helps members maintain the distancing protocol while still enjoying a social atmosphere. In addition, another option is to separate work spaces with barriers, to retain the proximity and still accomplish the social distancing requirements.

Second, keep the premises clean and disinfected. This is done on a regular basis every day so that the members feel safe and protected.

Third, make certain distancing and hygiene rules mandatory.  Members wear face masks, maintain adequate distance between each other and practice healthy hand hygiene.

Fourth, hold virtual crisis management seminars.  This includes discussions on ways to mitigate the crisis in the workplace through a group effort.

Fifth, hold online webinars and seminars. This helps to maintain the community atmosphere and social ‘feel’ for members. In such a case a physical presence of a group of people is not required. 

There are several creative ways the coworking community can bounce back. It depends on who is steering the wheel and how collaborative the team is.

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Isn’t collaboration one of the benefits of coworking, so YES, let us put it to the test.

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